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Friday, March 25, 2022
March 25, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:22 PM :: 2186 Views

Prince Kuhio's Fight to Americanize Hawaii

538: What If Hawaii Voted First In The Democratic Presidential Primaries?

Hawaii: 13,400 Renters May Soon Face Eviction

Jobs Recovery: Hawaii Among Three Worst States

Open-records exemption would open Pandora’s box 

Lawsuit challenges rule banning swimming with spinner dolphins in Hawaii

Oahu Loses 12,337 Residents in One Year

SA: … Oahu lost 12,337 residents from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released today, continuing a trend that was hurried along by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Oahu’s population at 1,000,890 as of July 1, 2021, down 1.2%, from the year-earlier figure….

(At 12,337 per year, Oahu would be completely vacant in 81 years.)

In Hawaii, however, although COVID-19 claimed roughly 500 lives over the July-to-July period, according to state Department of Health data, the state still recorded more births than deaths over those 12 months. And Oahu led the way with a natural population increase of 1,468.

That helped soften a bit the pandemic’s effect on residents fleeing the state over the high cost of living and more job opportunities.

Oahu saw a net migration loss of 13,686 residents over the one-year period, the Census data show. Although net international migration added 652 residents to the island’s population, the number of residents moving to or from the mainland showed a net loss of 14,338…. 

CB: Hawaii’s Population Continues A Slide That Began In 2017, New Data Shows

read … Census data shows population decline on Oahu, Maui; growth on Kauai, Big Isle

Judge Rejects Amemiya Effort To Dismiss Conspiracy Charge

CB: … Former Honolulu managing director Roy Amemiya’s attempt to dismiss his federal conspiracy charge was denied by U.S District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi on Thursday.

Amemiya is charged alongside former Honolulu attorney Donna Leong and former police commission chairman Max Sword. Prosecutors say the trio coordinated to misappropriate government funds for the purpose of giving a $250,000 retirement package to then-police chief Louis Kealoha, who was under investigation for corruption at the time.

The indictment states that Honolulu City Council approval was required to execute the deal, but that the defendants worked to circumvent the council. Leong is further accused of lying to federal agents. All have pleaded not guilty.

Amemiya’s attorney, Lyle Hosoda, said in a motion to dismiss and in oral arguments on Thursday that prosecutors failed to say what exactly his client had done wrong. According to Hosoda, Amemiya wasn’t involved with negotiating Kealoha’s retirement and wasn’t even aware of it until after it was done.

“How can you have a conspiracy if you’re not communicating with these individuals and there’s no allegation of such?” Hosoda asked. “He didn’t know about any of this until it came out in the newspaper.”…

(IQ Test: Are you laughing?)

SA: WATCH LIVE: Gubernatorial candidate Kirk Caldwell joins the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s ‘Spotlight Hawaii’

HNN: Judge rejects bid to dismiss conspiracy charges against ex-city executive

SA: Judge denies motion to dismiss charges against former Honolulu managing director

read … Judge Rejects Amemiya Effort To Dismiss Conspiracy Charge

Judge Rejects Plea Deal For Former Kauai Councilman Who Led Meth Ring

CB: … A federal judge on Thursday rejected a plea agreement that would have sentenced former Kauai County Councilman Arthur Brun to 15 years in prison on charges that he led a methamphetamine ring supplied by the United Samoan Organization, a gang that operates in and out of the Hawaii prison system….

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson’s decision to reject the deal hammered out between the Justice Department and Brun’s defense attorney Rustam Barbee means that federal prosecutors and Barbee will need to come up with a new agreement that proposes a longer prison sentence — or Brun will be subject to a trial.

A new deal would be contingent on the approval of a federal judge….

(Need: More info on USO.)

ILind: Will rejection of plea deal in Kauai case impact the Miske Enterprise negotiations?

TGI: Federal judge denies Arthur Brun’s plea deal

read … Judge Rejects Plea Deal For Former Kauai Councilman Who Led Meth Ring

As Covid-19 Emergency Ends, Hawaii Lawmakers Consider Limits On Executive Power

CB: … Two measures that would give lawmakers the authority to end the governor’s emergency proclamations have advanced to their final committees in the House and Senate….

House Bill 1585 and Senate Bill 3089 would still allow a governor to implement an emergency period for 60 days. But any additional proclamation or extensions of a proclamation could be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

Lawmakers would have the authority to strike down an entire proclamation, or parts of a proclamation. SB 3089 carries an additional prohibition against suspending Hawaii’s records laws.

SB 3089 was actually introduced by the governor, but those provisions were added by lawmakers….

read … As Covid-19 Emergency Ends, Hawaii Lawmakers Consider Limits On Executive Power

Sue Big Oil?  Consumers will pay

PBN: … Whether the case has merit or not is something a judge or jury will decide, but I notice right off a fairly typical error in thinking, that this lawsuit will result in oil companies picking up the tab for climate change adaptation, not taxpayers.

Does the city council have any idea where oil companies will get the money to pay for any damages?

A PBN reader would know: The oil companies will build the cost into the price of oil. Consumers — taxpayers — will pay for it at the pump, in their electric bill, in the price of everything they buy that’s made with oil products or transported by oil products….

read … Honolulu sues Big Oil

Hawaii County Mayor Urges Fast Tracking PGV While Delaying the Process

IM: … Hawai`i County Mayor Mitch Roth wrote a letter to Governor David Ige on March 17, 2022 requesting fast-tracking by the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission.

“I urge you to declare an energy emergency with the primary purpose of fast-tracking renewable energy projects being reviewed by the PUC. My recommendation is to require the PUC to review renewable energy projects within 60 days if the PUC finds that all four (4) criteria set forth in Hawaii Revised Statutes section 269-6 (b) are met...greenhouse gas emissions shall be met if the total process to produce the energy is carbon neutral or carbon negative.”

This letter obviously is aimed at Hu Honua, the only project that claims that it will be carbon negative. The PUC can`t fast track this proposal since they are complying with Hawaii Supreme Court rulings. Furthermore, the final regulatory process before the Commission issues a ruling is the filing of briefs next Tuesday by parties and participants….

The PUC approved the proposal to increase the Puna Geothermal Venture capacity from 38 to 46 MW on March 16, 2022, conditioned upon the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement.

The mayor wrote a letter to the Hawai`i Office of Planning and Sustainable Development on December 8, 2021, questioning why Hawaii County should be the accepting agency for the Environmental Impact Statement…..

read … Hawaii County Mayor Urges Fast Tracking PGV While Delaying the Process

Hawaii Schools Waste Massive Amounts of Electricity Because Electric Bill is not in their Budget

FC: … Stark lighting, stiflingly hot classrooms, and loud air conditioners are the norm, much like in the rest of the country…. As a result, the Hawaii Department of Education is the third largest electricity consumer in the state….

For Hawaii’s schools, the biggest energy challenges are lighting and air conditioning, according to Riki Fujitani, director of the Office of Facilities and Operations for the Department of Education. Since schools don’t pay their own bills, they tend to not pay a ton of attention to their energy consumption, he adds….

Since the Honouliuli Middle School project’s completion, the school has seen an estimated annual savings of 64% on energy usage, which translates to $500,000 a year….

read … How an ancient design technique helped one Hawaii public school save $500,000 on energy

Rep Sylvia Luke Blocking Prison Construction in Effort to Ensure Quick Release for Criminals

CB: … The seemingly endless debate over bail reform in Hawaii has taken a new turn this year after a key House lawmaker declared she will block the funding needed to plan for a new jail until the state finally restructures the cash bail system that determines which arrestees are released, and which are detained.

That move by House Finance Committee Chairwoman Sylvia Luke to explicitly link the controversial issue of bail reform with plans for a new jail to replace the Oahu Community Correctional Center may turn out to be a game changer.

Earlier this month the state House passed a measure to allow many people accused of misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors to go free without posting bail while the court system decides their cases. House Bill 1567 was approved by the House in a lopsided 45-5 vote….

The most outspoken critic of HB 1567 in the House has been Republican Rep. Gene Ward, who warned his colleagues in a floor speech earlier this month that “with no bail, you’ve got no skin in the game, and no skin in the game means you go out and you do whatever you want to do.”….

The bill is backed by the the ACLU of Hawaii and the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission, which pointed out the bill would implement one of the key recommendations from a Task Force on Pretrial Reform that was created by the Legislature itself in 2017….

SA: “We are proud to say that the Finance Committee, along with the House, did not fund the $15 million request for the construction of the new OCCC,” Sylvia Luke, committee chair, said during a March 16 floor speech.

read … Debate Over Who Should And Shouldn’t Be In Jail Is Tripping Up Plans For A New Oahu Facility

New ACLU Scam to Keep the Homeless Homeless--Mandatory Contested Case Hearing for Sweeps, Bums Awarded Ownership of Stolen Vehicles

MN: … A judge ruled that Maui County was required to hold evidentiary hearings sought by two homeless women before a sweep of encampments on county land near Kanaha Beach Park last year.

In an order filed March 16, 2nd Circuit Judge Kirstin Hamman said “constitutional due process required a contested case hearing” for Sonia Davis and Jessica Lau, who had their  property taken and destroyed in the sweep Sept. 20 to 22.

(‘Their’ property?  Did they have receipts proving ownership?)

Davis, 64, lost property including pots and pans, tents, a canopy, folding tables, diapers, a stroller, playpen and baby car seat, as well as four vehicles….

(IDEA: Four counts of auto theft.)

The order didn’t require such hearings for Lauralee Riedell and Adam Walton, who didn’t lose personal property in the sweep.….

In a statement, Deputy Corporation Counsel Caleb Rowe said the county is appealing the ruling.

“Four plaintiffs allege that the county is required to hold evidentiary hearings before it may remove personal items left on county land without the county’s permission,” Rowe said. “The court granted the county’s motion to dismiss two plaintiffs and ruled that the remaining two plaintiffs were entitled to a hearing before their property was removed from county land.

“The county has asked that this matter be reviewed by the Intermediate Court of Appeals.”…

The order said vehicles in the plaintiffs’ possession were protected by due process, regardless of who the registered owners were, because the plaintiffs “were in possession of those vehicles and were using those vehicles both to store other personal property and for shelter.”

“The court finds that the private interests at stake here are significant,” the order said.

(CLUE: Auto thieves can now obtain legal ownership by claiming to use your vehicle to ‘store’ ‘their’ other stolen property.)

read … Judge: County should have held hearings before Kanaha sweep

Transsexual Meth Convict Plays Victim 15 Years After Arrest

HNN: … Dione Tamure is her stage name. Her real name is Dione Kaeo-Tomaselli.

And she was accused (and convicted) of meth trafficking in 2007.

Undercover Honolulu police officers said a man named “Alfredo” offered them drugs in Waikiki.

According to court records, they allowed that man to use the officer’s cell phone to call a woman, who brought them meth.

Days later, Tamure was the one arrested.

Tamure turned over her phone records to show police no one called her at the time that officers said she was contacted to bring drugs. The officer’s cell phone, which was used to make that call, mysteriously was lost and the records were lost, too.

There was no video recordings or audio recordings of the drug deal. The trial came down to her word against the officers’ and she was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Tamure said she was sent to the Halawa Correctional Facility, an all-male prison.

She said she was born intersex and her first week in prison she was sexually assaulted.

Records from the state Department of Public Safety show an investigation proved Akuila Tuamoheloa was the attacker. He was already a convicted sex offender….

After serving his time, Tuamoheloa was deported to Tonga.

Tamure was moved to the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua, then sent to a women’s prison on the mainland. She served her time but now wants to be cleared of the crime.

…she cannot travel to Japan to perform because of the conviction. The Hawaii Innocence Project is working with her, trying to get the conviction thrown out so she can have a new trial.

Ken Lawson, director of the program, believes a transgender woman who is about the same height as Tamure and lived in the Waikiki apartment complex next door was actually the woman who participated in the drug transaction. The woman can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has passed….

(IQ Test: Do you believe this story?)

read … Everybody in Prison Says they are Innocent 

Hawaii Could Lose Hundreds of Healthcare Workers because of State Failure to Request Licensing Waiver

PEW: … Top Hawaii officials last week received an urgent warning: If they didn’t act, the state would lose the services of hundreds of health care workers who have been essential in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state had not extended a waiver of licensing requirements that had been in place for the past two years, noted Hilton Raethel, head of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, which represents the state’s hospitals, skilled nursing centers, assisted living facilities and hospices.

“This will place a materially increased burden on our existing workforce which has been stretched and strained dramatically during the pandemic, and we risk losing even more of our current permanent workforce which will have a significant impact on the ability of our hospitals and other healthcare institutions,” Raethel wrote to state officials.

Even if the state takes that key step, Raethel said in an interview, the underlying crisis in health care will continue. There simply aren’t enough workers of all types—doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, lab techs, behavioral health specialists, medical assistants—to fill vacancies, not only in Hawaii, but also across the country….

read … Health Worker Shortage Forces States to Scramble

Effort To Transfer State Agricultural Land Survives Latest Hurdle

CB: … House Bill 1658 was originally intended to ensure access to land currently managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Amendments introduced by Sen. Lorraine Inouye at a hearing on Wednesday added requirements that DOA accept all land transfers offered by DLNR, that DLNR keep control of conservation land and that lessees of DOA land containing important natural resources develop conservation plans.

The amendments could reintroduce long simmering disagreements between environmental and agricultural interest groups over which agency is best suited to manage state farm and ranch lands and their lessees….

read … Effort To Transfer State Agricultural Land Survives Latest Hurdle

Repairs to start on leaky State Capitol reflecting pools (again)

KITV: … The state is set to begin work this summer on a $4.7-million renovation project at the reflecting pools that surround the Capitol, KITV4 has confirmed.

The work on the two pools - Diamond Head and Ewa - is part of an overall $12-million project to fix the pools, which have been leaking into the Capitol basement for years….

read … Repairs to start on leaky State Capitol reflecting pools

Hawaii parking app Parklinq offers new three-tiered parking rate system depending on level of political correctness

PBN: …Founded in 2020, the company aims to enable drivers to find, reserve and pay for parking spots on their mobile phones. According to the company, Parklinq works with real estate owners and offers software and management services for their lots or garage.

Its latest development is a high-tech, three-tiered parking rate system — which the company says is the first of its kind.

The three-tiered system can instantly verify out-of-state visitors, Hawaii residents, and those who live in the neighborhood and offer corresponding rates, said Parkling officials in an announcement.

For example, an out-of-state visitor parking rate may be $3 per hour, Hawaii resident parking is $1 per hour, and if a driver’s address on their state identification card is within a mile of the parking, the parking is free, the announcement said….

“Our goal is to scale this system statewide to make ‘smart parking’ available in our islands,”…

Parklinq in early May will introduce smart parking to Ko Olina, the first area of the state to adopt the new tiered-parking system, the company said.

Later in May, the Maui Ocean Center and Pacific Whale Foundation will introduce smart parking to the Valley Isle….

read … Hawaii parking app Parklinq offers new three-tiered parking rate system

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